The Okee Dokee Brothers are neither brothers nor named Okee Dokee, but that’s all right. In fact, tall tales are part of the country’s heritage. And since Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing are all about celebrating the great outdoors, they’ve earned the right to engage in a little Paul Bunyan-ing (especially after winning a Grammy award).
Their latest CD, Winterland, delivers 16 original compositions themed loosely around being home for the holidays with the family. The album kicks off with “Blankets of Snow,” which brings a familiar Okee Dokee trick, the turn of a phrase, “Ain’t it kinda funny how a cold day keeps you warm?” Mailander and Lansing continue their wordplay on “Slumberjack” with “See what ya saw and saw what you see.” As a mnemonic device, it’s especially easy in teaching kids how to sing the lyrics.
Winterland demonstrates how to sing educational tunes about the great outdoors and nature without overwhelming the fun and singalong quality of the material.Mailander and Lansing even squeeze in a “song cycle” about the role winter plays in preparing children for death. WAIT COME BACK… It’s all about the life of a tree and how a dead tree still has a place to help with wildlife in the spring. You can stop sweating and shaking now. Here’s a sample of “Great Grandmother Tree”:
In the backwoods of an old mighty forest
There’s a silver maple tree lyin’ on her side
She’s home to all kinds of life now
She doesn’t live but she’s still alive
The Okee Dokee Brothers have dedicated Winterland to their beloved and endangered winters, which are warming fast as a result of climate change. To help ensure their fans can enjoy a lifetime of snowy winter exploration, they’re donating 10% of all Winterland CD sales to Askov Finlayson’s Keep the North Cold initiative, which supports leading-edge climate solutions in the North and across the country. Read more about their important mission at the website.
Once again, you can feel the steady producing hand of Dean Jones on the warm, welcoming songs like “Candle” and “You You You.” The Okee Dokee Brothers sing about how nature was here before us, surrounds us, and how we can improve our relationship with the planet. Winterland is deceptively complex and simply intoxicating at the same time. Come inside, make some hot chocolate, and sit a spell, while learning that we’re all here for the world, not the other way around.
Here is the video for the duo’s song, “Blankets of Snow”: